Romania vies with Bulgaria as the cheapest destination in Europe (but not on the Black Sea coast?!).
Still harboring the scars of more than two decades under the Communist rule of Nicolae Ceausescu, Bucharest’s melancholic edge is offset by its metropolitan verve. And while more and more visitors are discovering the unique appeal of the city once known as “Little Paris,” it’s still a very affordable destination and a great place to go upscale for less. In fact, its luxury accommodations have an average rate of $190 per night, making Bucharest among the cheapest cities in the world to stay at a five-star hotel. And, according to the Prices and Earnings report, Bucharest is the least expensive city for a weekend getaway that includes accommodations, a meal with wine, taxi and public transport, a car rental, and extras: The average cost of $370 is a mere fraction of the cost of a similar holiday in Paris, estimated at $1,100.
However, the first thing to note when heading to [somewhere like] Mamaia – or, indeed, anywhere on the coast – is that you need to take plenty of cash with you. Every time you put your hand in your pocket, 100 lei (US$30) disappears. Even the rough and ready places north of Mamaia, in Navodari, are charging prices for food and drink that even the best restaurants in Bucharest would think twice about before doing so.
BLACK SEA COAST
Costinesti is a popular summer destination for young people and students. The season opens here on the 1st of May and attracts a great deal of young people, who create there a particularly pleasant, lively and informal atmosphere. The long beach with fine sand is eastwards oriented, thus benefiting of sun all day long (few beaches in Europe have this privilege). It is less expensive than other Romanian Sea resorts. Beach games and music.
2 Mai is located at about 53 km from Constanta and it is quite small comparing with the other resorts.
This place is mostly known for its cosy peaceful atmosphere. However this doesn’t keep it from being fairly popular among people looking for some peace and quiet. 2 Mai doesn’t have many modern hotels or villas but tourists that enjoy calm and tranquility find this place charming. Accommodation in 2 Mai can be found in hostels and villas right on the beach or very near it, but not only, as you can find it in villagers homes as well.
There is also a really well equipped camping on the beach. 2 Mai is not lacking restaurants, clubs, cafes and night clubs if some wish to enjoy more then the calm surroundings. So if you are seeking an escape from crowded cities and do want a nice relaxing and peaceful holiday then 2 Mai might be the ideal place for you.
The southernmost Romanian resort is a well-known destination for young people.
Known for its hippie atmosphere, Vama Veche is a popular location for many concerts, some of which take place right on the beach at no cost.
Most of the people visiting Vama Veche are on a really tight budget, and often times prefer going camping. So do not be surprised when you see countless tents assembled close to the sea.
Speaking from my own experience, Vama Veche is the resort that never sleeps.
So if you are hoping for peace and quiet, it is best to pick another location for your holiday, and only visit this place to check out the concerts.
Some of the not-to-miss destinations in Transylvania include cities like
Sibiu – a European Cultural Capital with excellent museums, high-quality restaurants and a fantastic Old Town;
Sighisoara – a fairytale of a citadel with dazzling pastel-colored houses and a UNESCO-protected historic center;
Brasov – a lively and cosmopolitan mountain city brimming with medieval treasures, bohemian cafes and a wealth of things to see and do; and
Cluj-Napoca – one of Romania’s biggest, most vibrant and culturally-rich cities.
There are dozens of villages where you can still get a glimpse of the “traditional ways” of Romania including the restored Saxon Villages of Biertan, Viscri, and Malancrav (all within 1 hour of Sighisoara.
Romanians speak a Latin-based language that is relatively easy for Westerners to decipher (unlike the languages of Croatia and Montenegro, for example). The country’s interior is beautiful…but not a likely retirement or full-time living haven…as winters are harsh. Great (and increasingly trendy) choice for a ski getaway, though.
Real estate values continue up, but it is still possible to get a true bargain, both in Bucharest and, especially, beyond.
My Initial Thoughts…
The more I look at Romania, the less appealing it becomes. The black sea coast looks disappointing and I am not keen at looking at anywhere inland.
I may skip Romania altogether…
My tourism and retirement targets are:
- Black Sea Coast
- Danube Delta
- Road from Piatra Neamt to Gheorghina
- Road from Gheorghina to Targu Mures
- Sfantu Gheorghe
- Brasov / Bran
- Satu Mare
If I don’t like the Bulgarian Black Sea Coastline, I may skip Romania completely:
- The chance is that I won’t like Romania’s Black Sea Coastline either
- I am not expecting to find my retirement location inland (I picture myself at least close to the coast) – my tour inland is mainly speculative
- As I am looking for a warm / hot climate, inland Romania is starting to get a bit too far north (climate-wise) anyway
I get mixed messages about costs in Romania. Some sites list it as one of the more expensive Eastern European countries whilst others list it as one of the cheapest.
I’ll be entering Romania from Bulgaria along the Black Sea coast so it makes sense for me to continue up the Romanian Black Sea coast before cutting in land. My main targets are, probably, Constanta and the Danube Delta.
Unfortunately I will not be able to get to all of my tourism targets, so I will focus on the ones that I can most easily get to as I loop through Romania back towards Sofia, Bulgaria.
The next stop in my journey will be Macedonia.